A Magic Fly (for Today)

It was a tale of two halves today on the river.

With forecast for rain and some potential lightning, I in the end decided to go for it and arrived early at the water, only to find absolutely no action. I didn’t see many bugs, and I couldn’t get any reactions from the fish.

By mid-morning, I was feeling depleted, having driven a long way to find a mental puzzle I just couldn’t solve. I checked the radar map and saw a good burst of rain about to push through. I almost left. But I reminded myself that whenever I felt dejected but hung in there, the fishing turned around.

I moved spots, only to find the same soporific situation: no takes. Suddenly, the rain started to come, and it was a very heavy pour. That’s when something odd happened: bugs started to pop right in front of me. I saw caddis, big mayflies (March Browns, perhaps), and little mayflies.

And, suddenly, I started to get takes. While it rained, I had a fish on every second or third cast. I ended up catching quite a few browns and rainbros, and it was as though a light switch went on. I was the only angler around.

Oddly, the trout wanted one fly: a caddis pattern that was yellow-green. Other colors didn’t work. Anything with a shuck was a turn-off. Often, they wanted a very gentle pulse during the drift. They insisted on peacock herl for the thorax, not dubbing, squirrel, or rabbit. The same pattern with a different color bead didn’t produce, as the fish only wanted gold.

The fly is very simple, and it’s very much a guide fly that you can create pretty quickly:

  • Hook: size 16 barbless Czech nymph
  • Body: PMD turkey biot sealed in UV resin
  • Thorax: peacock herl
  • Bead: gold tungsten
  • Thread: yellow

Suddenly, the rain stopped. The bugs disappeared, as did the fish.

I’ve never believed in a Magic Fly, but today was really something. While having a mid-afternoon lunch at the Golden Arches, I contemplated what had happened. Amidst a sea of people going home on Memorial Day, everyone walking here, there, and everywhere at the rest center, I was a fixture of calm and reflection. What an outing.

Fly fishing is a real gift: it offers a lifetime of learning, and I learn something new each time I fish. During the drive home, I chatted with (fellow bloggers) Jamie and then with Ashu. “Weird stuff happens all the time during fly fishing,” Ashu said. He is absolutely right.

A wonderful Memorial Day to all!


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2 thoughts on “A Magic Fly (for Today)

  1. I’ve had similar experiences in the rain. At the Swift, in particular, the fly is usually a tiny Olive emerger, tied like the Wicked Pissah but in olive colors. A magical, mystical event. A friend had same thing happen with Shad on Chicopee River this morning. He is still mystified, but smiling!

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